The Festival Beat: Know Your Lineup
Ticketing / Entry:
Stages / Sound:
Food / Beverage:
Getting in was no problem, getting out was a nightmare. But for a first year festival, this ran incredibly smooth- kudos to the ops team! Having the local brewers there would have been awesome if they were allowed to sell anything more than a 3oz sample. Food options lived up to the hype as some of the best restaurants in Charleston set up trucks and food events in addition to the shows.
Pro Tip: grab a beer right before the headliners wrap up and pop a squat, cause it's worse than rush hour on the cross town in that parking lot.
Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats. We've seen them before, but dude, they were amazing! The entire lawn in front of the Stono stage was transformed into a dancehall scene from an old musical. Everyone was kicking off their shoes, dancing around with their kids or their friends, and singing along. It was such a fun set that we were all still humming S.O.B. long after The Shins (who closed out the night.)
Margo Price. This set managed to be annoying even as background noise while we were sitting by the other stage. She spent so much time trying to sell this persona of "small town country girl" which was nothing short of basic. What she didn't spend any time doing was connecting with the audience; she's a good musician, but she just came across as inauthentic.
Caroline Rose. Normally when a small artist doesn't play our favorite song of theirs we feel slighted; that isn't how we felt after not hearing "American Religious" live. This was Caroline Rose (the band)'s first live performance and it stole the show! Their lyrics are perfect expressions of disillusioned millennials without sounding like they're whining about first world problems. The melodies were clever and the cynical banter with the crowd made us feel like the lead singer was part of our group. Cannot wait to see these ladies again.
Shovels & Rope. Lesson learned- when you curate the festival, you get to play like you've got home court advantage. Shovels & Rope rocked! Cary Ann Herst is a rock star. But what we loved most about this set is that we'd already seen them hop on stage with their friends throughout the weekend. The Avette Brothers were fine, but this was the unofficial headliner because we all felt like we'd spent the whole weekend jamming out with this couple.
Dawes. Full disclosure, the Dawes didn't do anything wrong and we did enjoy the show. The trouble is they are coming off the 2 hour long "an evening with Dawes" show we recently saw in Atlanta. Maybe they were tired from playing such long sets recently? Maybe our expectations were so high after those shows that they could never be met? Probably a little of both, but we still felt wanting after they were finished.
John Moreland. We are not known as a crowd that likes country music. That's what John Moreland is; good ol' red dirt, broken heart country. But his songs read like poems and his voice is just so beautiful that even when he sang about such sad things it made us happy.